University of Exeter won't get insurance payout for WW2 bomb damage

  • Watch the moment the bomb was detonated here

The University of Exeter will not get an insurance payout for the damage caused by a WW2 bomb explosion. 

The bomb was found in the centre of Exeter by construction workers in February 2021.

The discovery sparked the evacuation of thousands of homes as a large exclusion zone was put in place.

Around 21 hours after it was found, the Ministry of Defence carried out a controlled detonation which was seen and heard from around the city.

That explosion damaged nearby homes as well as several university buildings and halls of residence. 

There was extensive damage to nearby homes.

Exeter University wanted Allianz Insurance PLC to pay for the repairs, but the insurance company refused. The case has now been heard at the Court of Appeal in London, which ruled in the insurance firm's favour.

The debate was all about whether the detonation was ‘occasioned by war’ and therefore excluded from the insurance policy. 

The bomb had been dropped in 1942 during World War Two. 

The university argued the damage was caused by the deliberate act of the bomb disposal team rather than the original dropping by the German air force and therefore that it was notoccasioned by war’ and that the insurance company should cover the cost of damage done. 

However, the judge decided the passage of time “had no relevant or material impact on the danger posed by the bomb”.

He said that “as a matter of common sense, the dropping of the bomb and its consequent presence at the site, was the proximate cause of the damage”. 

He concluded that “the dropping of the bomb is an act of war and so the loss suffered is excluded from cover”.

After the hearing, the university said in a statement: "We are extremely disappointed by the outcome of the appeal hearing.

"The university believes this was a legitimate insurance claim for damage caused by an incident off-site and outside any control.

"However, we will accept the judgment."